Supreme Court Senior Associate said there are speculations that after securing South China Sea, China will move beyond the first island chain in the Western Pacific.
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, in an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines on Thursday (November 25), said the maritime dispute in the South China Sea is a clash over resources.
For China, it’s about asserting itself as a regional power by controlling the area.
“Definitely China wants all the resources in the South China Sea. They want all the fish, all the oil and gas,” Carpio said.
“That’s why when we tried to bid out internationally areas three and 4 four in the Reed Bank they sent us note verbale. They said ‘we own areas three and four in the Reed Bank.’ In fact, the entire Reed Bank, that’s their position. So it’s a fight over resources.”
Carpio said China might influence countries around the South China Sea if it could control resources in the area.
Located northwest of Palawan, the Reed Bank or Recto Bank is the site of an oil drilling project by Forum Energy which Philex Petroleum is a majority owner.
But government temporarily stopped the service contract on December 2014 as the drilling site is within the disputed area subject to a United Nations arbitration.
The arbitral tribunal ruled it has jurisdiction over the country’s case against China.
But Carpio said the country shouldn’t eagerly lift the moratorium on oil drilling because of the ruling.
“The case has not been finished yet. We have to wait for the outcome. It’s still pending,” said Carpio.
He added: “If the tribunal rules that the Reed Bank belongs to the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, then of course we have all the right to proceed, because under the law of the sea, we have the exclusive right to exploit our EEZ.